Jul 19, 2021 @ 15:10

NUPL welcomes dismissal of terrorism cases vs 2 Aetas

The National Union of People’s Lawyers on Monday welcomed the ruling of the Olongapo City regional trial court dismissing the terrorism charges against 2 Aetas who were arrested while descending from a mountain in Zambales on accusations linking them to the communist movement.

NUPL president Edre Olalia said in a message: ” We are happy for our Aeta brothers who have been unjustly charged with frivolous & worse, trumped-up charges. That they have to undergo horrible & unimaginable torture, – which remains undisputed to this day – and made pawns by the very State that put them in jail in the first place and whose self-righteous agents even brazenly committed unethical conduct to snatch them away from their original counsel to defuse the focus on the patent injustice on them, is an indelible mark that is irreparable.”

“Their rightful acquittal is well-deserved even as they had to go through the ordeal for some time.”

After granting their demurrer to evidence, the Olongapo City RTC has dismissed the cases against Japer Gurong and Junior Ramos.

“After a careful examination of the records, the Court holds that the prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proving the identifies of the accused as the perpetrators of the crime of violation of Section 4 of RA 11479. Thus, the case for violation of this law against the accused must be dismissed,” the court order reads in part.

Gurung and Ramos were the first persons charged for violating Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

They were nabbed on accusations linking them to communist New People’s Army. They were arrested while descending from a mountain in Sitio Lumibao, Barangay Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales where an encounter between the military and rebels had just transpired.

Gurong and Ramos last February 2 asked the Supreme Court to declare the hugely-controversial legislation unconstitutional via a petition-in-intervention. They, however, withdrew it.

President Duterte signed a stricter anti-terrorism bill, condemned by critics and rights groups as a weapon to target opponents and stifle free speech.

Duterte has defended the law, saying law-abiding citizens should not fear as it targets terrorists including communist insurgents.#

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